Pencil me in — John Crichton, Coach’s Corner

JohnCrichton_ColourHave you ever packed for a trip when you didn’t know exactly where you were going or when you were coming back? If so, you might be a gypsy, or maybe you’re an athlete or a ski coach on the Nor-Am, Europa Cup or World Cup circuits.

Making the Canadian National Ski Team means scoring points on the Nor-Am Circuit. Nor-Ams (North American’s) are the highest level of competition on our side of “the pond,” except for the two World Cups in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek. The competitions are on the calendar early, and we plan our year around scoring at them.

This circuit is full of hungry, savage ski racers with the same goals, so results don’t come easily.

If you’re winning, life is great (meaning when an athlete is skiing fast and scoring you can stick to a schedule, but that rarely happens). Usually though, if the results don’t come in, you change your plan, add more races, add more training.

Take my coaches for example. Nick Cooper left his house on November 8 to come to Sun Peaks to train. From there he traveled to Frisco, Colorado for the Nor-Ams and National Junior races. By the time he wrapped up, he was away for 45 days, living with the athletes in a cramped little house we rented to save money, without a day away from the team. As you can imagine, a little bit of craziness kicks in, but the chance to score in these last Nor-Am tech races kept him and the team going.

After Frisco it was a flight to Calgary straight after the races, getting up at 3:30 a.m. and driving to Panorama for the FIS Tech series, again hoping for points.

Then it’s home for Christmas and straight to Europe for January. There’ll be no cathedral tours and cappuccinos when we’re there either. We land, go straight to training, and race 10 FIS races in 20 days in four countries. From the last race in Slovenia, we head back to Munich to catch a flight to Quebec for our next Nor-Ams in Vermont. Nick and I won’t see home again ‘til the end of February.

My women’s coach, JPD, stayed in Sun Peaks a little longer to train the girls’ BC Ski Team and then had to drive our skis down to Colorado to save the overweight on the flight. Sun Peaks to Whistler to Calgary and 37 hours later he arrived in Frisco, Colo. I know, not the straightest route, but like I said you make plans then they change. From the Frisco races he jumped back in the van and drove our speed skis, to Quebec for our races in February — saving the overweight and rental van costs. Then, he’ll hop on plane back to B.C. to train and race one girl. JPD will fly back east in February to gather the women’s team and race the eastern Nor-Ams in Vermont and Quebec before he gets back behind the wheel and drives the van to the Nor-Am finals in Alberta.

And we haven’t even made it to March yet.

The season is all planned, but I’m sure that’ll change.

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